Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Advertising ain't brain surgery

Matt says there's an article coming about advertising for the upcoming Holiday Season. If it's another goddamn BUST ad I'm going to Brooklyn with a crate of ammo. The entire concept of "street teams" and "co-op ads" just infuriates me in a way that few things do. (I'll go off on Street Teams at a later time.)

Many people, including Etsy, maintain that you need to advertise your own shop. We Bitches don't dispute that. We actually encourage you to do everything for youself and fuck Etsy's wanting a reach around. Get your own domain name and set it to redirect to your Etsy store at the VERY least so your domain stays in their mind, not Etsy's. That way if you move to your own site, or another service, they will come with you. You need to do whatever you can to survive, but that doesn't relieve Etsy from advertising itself, like all big pants companies do.

Example: eBay advertises itself. You've seen the ads, they are everywhere. TV, magazines, online, bus stops. They don't promote any particular seller, they promote ideas of what you can buy there: Cars. Clothes. Computers. A box of that cereal you liked when you were ten. "You can get it on eBay." It's such a persuasive message that it's second nature now to search eBay for the thing you want before even going to a store.

eBay knows what Etsy doesn't. When you don't sell an actual product, when you depend on your users to make your money for you, you sell the idea of your service. Promoting itself promotes everyone, and all without any injuries or scandals on who did or didn't get in the ad.

Of course, this would mean not selling placement in co-op ads. Which is how it should work, co-op ads are a stupid communist way to go about it and they've turned advertising Etsy into fucking non-juried, nonsensical, free for all bloodsport. Advertising content should never be haphazard, or luck of the draw. It needs planned and plotted so the message is clear. As it is now there is no rhyme or reason for the items included in the co-op ads, other than who ever got in line first and had the sharpest elbows.

I know it's a tough thing stomach to emulate eBay but they know what they are and what works, and they deserve a back pat for that.

If you haven't seen this already there is an animated Etsy Commercial on YouTube:


THAT is fucking advertising, people! Why is this languishing and hidden on Youtube? Why is this not airing on Martha Stewart (even if it's just as a local ad rotating in various larger markets)? Why isn't this worked up as a Flash ad and playing on The Ellen DeGenres Show or HGTV website?

Granted, it's entirely too long for broadcast TV as is (they need to cut it down to 30 seconds from it's 1 minute 37 seconds), but it perfectly gets the idea across what Etsy is, what you get there, and how it works. It's a good starting point on how to advertise Etsy.com at the very least. And it's mostly done already. So, they have the concept, why aren't they doing it?

34 Comments:

impetuous said...

This is my all time favorite article from Etsy Bitch. You lost me around the point that you started throwing retarded around but this:

"Example: eBay advertises itself. You've seen the ads, they are everywhere. TV, magazines, online, bus stops. They don't promote any particular seller, they promote ideas of what you can buy there: Cars. Clothes. Computers. A box of that cereal you liked when you were ten. "You can get it on eBay." It's such a persuasive message that it's second nature now to search eBay for the thing you want before even going to a store."

Absolutely brilliant. The you tube commercial could be edited seven ways to sunday to make little ads on internet and tv. It is exactly the type of ad that is needed to get people interested in buying handmade. What is the fucking hold up Etsy?

nina said...

Oh my Gosh! That is ridiculously brilliant!

Aacck!!! It needs to go on TV!!!

I hope that is a plan for the future.

eclipse said...

That is actually a really cute commercial! I'd never seen it before. Who made it? It doesn't look like Bre's style.

And I try my best to keep up on Etsy news for UEN so if I never saw it then I imagine lots of people haven't.

Eveline said...

That commercial is a few years old and I never understood why it wasn't used for tv advertising. It shows exactly what Etsy is, without favouring one seller over the other. It is clear and cute and will stand out from other ads on tv.

But oohhnoooo.... advertising costs money and word of mouth is sooo much more effective....

*sigh*

Dragon said...

"It's a good starting point on how to advertise Etsy.com at the very least. And it's mostly done already. So, they have the concept, why aren't they doing it?"

Why? Because it seems, there will always be people who do it for them. Why bother if there's someone who is willing to spend the time and make the effort AND pay out of their own pockets to do things like this?

Etsy sits back and still watches the profits roll in. Making sure that some of their staff continue to throw the odd piece of rotten fish to the masses in a bid to calm the unrest when store owners AND buyers see through their bull.

The more I hear about Etsy, the more it makes me shudder.

Cover That Mother said...

I'm a total animation nerd, so I think the commercial was pretty cool! It does tend to hit a younger demographic, though. But, its still very nice.

I have never seen that. Anyone know who put it together (directed, animated, illustrators)?

If they can do ads similar to that, and incorporate the brilliance of This thread, it will be good for all.

The Funny One said...

I'm right there with you impetuous, and this is the best on EB so far. Since EB started, we've all come to the same conclusions.
Maybe the $27 million was just an excuse for an immature company to hire willy nilly and give their employees cushy jobs with no real business plan for the site. At 3+ years old, Etsy has not only refused to advertise, they refuse to set up a customer service function, they refuse to protect the integrity of their original mission, and they refuse to bring in experienced consultants to bring them into the real world of online retail.

REFUSE. It's such a contradiction that they "invite" sellers to set up shop (without any screening at all, which has resulted in a reseller free-for-all), blab about "community"-----and then stay COMPLETELY ISOLATED in their Gold Street offices. Etsy is so cut off from its sellers, and the whole handmade community that they really have no allegience to their original mission. Or a clue about how to grow into a professional online ecommerce site and company.

This article says it all about what's wrong with 3+ years of refusing to advertise, but the real tragedy is that Etsy is so entrenched in a lazy, do nothing, deer-in-the-headlights stagnation, that they can't get off their asses and change course.

I would bet $500 right now that most Etsy employees spend 50% OR MORE of their working days writing articles for their "blog"-----and are completely convinced that that overbloated, over-written, infantile, and misguided section of the site is "advertising". Throw in 4 co-op ads year and that's all they have to do.

Etsy can't change course because their current employee roster hasn't gained the skills they needed when they were first hired, and have, without any supervision, created little fiefdoms all over the site that are so far removed from the community and ecommerce, that they have no idea where to start. Plus, they just DON'T GET IT.

If Etsy doesn't start getting rid of a lot of dead wood, AND GET THEIR ACT TOGETHER TODAY with a comprehensive HOLIDAY PROMOTIONS PLAN FOR THE SELLERS AND THE SITE, then they deserve to be just a memory in the world of ecommerce.

This company hasn't matured; it's turned into a place without focus. A youtube for the DIY set, and a great place to get a job and not really work for a living. 63 people, doing what?

sherry said...

I had a similar idea not so very long ago....

http://www.etsy.com/forums_thread.php?thread_id=5751070

It's not rocket science, it's advertising.

Andy Mathis said...

I popped into Office Hours with Matt for a few minutes the other day. And asked about a question about a lottery system for selling the co-op ads. Since the last one sold out in less than 10 seconds.

He was on camera and I was surprised that he had not heard of, or considered, the idea. I have been harping on that at least a dozen times in the forums, being told, "we pass any suggestions onto the marketing team".

I am not sure what happened to that post-it note but it seems it didn't make it to Matt.

Which makes me wonder- What other ideas or suggestions aren't getting to the people they need to get to?

adam selene said...

I'm not sure what happened to my earlier comment, but here it goes again.

That video was briefly mentioned in the Etsy blog in November 2006:
http://fix.etsy.com/?p=118

It was created by these guys:
http://www.also-online.com/

Etsy being Etsy doesn't know what to do with a good thing that is handed to them, so the video never got used to its potential. Kudos to EB for bringing it up again, it's sad that such a nice little piece of work languished unappreciated for almost 2 years.

Jen Segrest (verybigjen) said...

You wanted to have my baby over my etsy redesign comps, and now I want to have yours for this post.

Sigh. That would be an awesome tv ad. I actually see it recut into 3 ads, one showing each product focused on for a whole campaign.

Will never fucking happen. And that's the shame of all this.

Angry Housewife said...

that fun Etsy commercial would have been appropriate back when Etsy was all about the handmade, but now that it is about vintage, supplies and resellers (oh,and handmade sometimes, too), it just doesn't do it anymore.

impetuous said...

The sad part is that Etsy might have been able to preserve it's handmade focus had it simply done this from the start or soon after.

Hyla Waldron said...

That video ROX!

Jen Segrest (verybigjen) said...

Ads on indiepublic are $20 a month. That's obscenely cheap. Most online ads are not expensive at all, so I don't buy that they cost too much.

I've been saying for ages they need to use google adwords that fee ads up but only if they click. You want them to click.

I think etsy just needs to advertise the handmade it's what stands out. It' what the thing is essentially about, they can find the rest when they get there, but ten I think supplies and vintage need spun off too.

Old Hippie Bitch said...

Oh yeah, I remember that video. It really was a wasted opportunity, wasn't it?

eclipse said...

The Funny One said:
I would bet $500 right now that most Etsy employees spend 50% OR MORE of their working days writing articles for their "blog"

...

One of them once said, (I think it was Anda) that they spend all day sending links to cool Etsy items to eachother. I forget if this was in the forums, Storque, or virtual labs. It was regarding the "Etsy Finds" emails I think. She was saying "we spend all day sending eachother cool etsy items anyway, so now we can send them to members". (paraphrased)
I do understand it was probably exaggerated- hopefully not literally ALL day. But it was probably too much of the day spent on this activity and not on their assigned jobs such as customer service or removing flagged items.

LaurenB said...

wow, okay point one: great article, totally insightful and I completely agree.

point 2: what a WASTE of time and money! that ad was ENTIRELY too long (I was bored by the time she was cutting yarn) and really didn't accomplish anything. Thank you so much for continuing your criticism, bitches!

ebbandflo said...

there was yet another "why is there stuff here that isn't handmade?" thread again today in forum

while i love that supplies and vintage are sold, in truth it really screws with the trademarked statement on the front page - people ARE confused with what is sold on this site

Rocket said...

I have a theory on why Etsy chooses venues like Bust, Mary Engelbreit, etc when it advertises (on the rare occasion that is does):

We as sellers say- WTF Etsy??? When you advertise in these venues, you are preaching to the choir. Why not advertise in some areas outside the indie/art/craft/handmade movement and bring in some people who have never heard of Etsy???

The answer is this: Etsy WANTS TO PREACH TO THE CHOIR because they want art/craft/handmade people who currently don’t have Etsy shops to open one and generate revenue for Etsy through sales, renews, Showcases, etc. When Etsy advertises in these venues, it generates customers FOR THEM. If Etsy was to advertise in non indie/art/handmade venues, it would generate customers for the sellers, but not customers for Etsy itself.

I know it is not a very deep revelation. It hit me one day and I couldn’t believe I was so naïve to think Etsy really gave a rat’s ass about advertising for the sellers.

Andy Mathis said...

that's true Ebb.

Allowed or not, when 1 person asks that question in the forums, there are 25 other buyers, or more, thinking the same thing.

sad buddyb said...

Cute video, and it had some items that are a step in the right direction.

But the simplicity gives the impression that Etsy is simple crafty nicky-nack stuff, and overlooks the notion that there are highly skilled artisans and artists. That's a bad omission, even if the majority isn't highly skilled.

I also thought it was funny that it showed sellers buying from sellers (photographer buying earrings, jeweler buying rope thingy).

The problem is that Etsy IS sellers buying from sellers. We need outside buyers.

The ads should be bringing in buyers, not more sellers to buy from sellers. This appears to be aimed at potential sellers, as usual.

The Disgruntled One said...

In my opinion Etsy goofed when they allowed vintage onto the site. (Rokali has admitted it was a sort of spur of the moment decision and that they didn't really think it through -- so surprise there). You can make a case for supplies (although I think they'd still be better off as a sister site) but vintage is too open-ended to be in any way controllable. In spite of all the arguments I've heard in its favor, it just doesn't fit, at least on the main Etsy site.

And I agree, ebb and andy. Confused newcomers are asking questions about it and getting royally jumped on in the forums. I understand that vintage sellers feel anxious or angry about their status. Of course they do! But let's not attack newcomers who are confused because of the tagline -- they don't mean to insult vintage sellers. I don't either, many of my best friends are vintage sellers, but it really muddies the promotional waters.

And I agree, andy, that for every person who comes to the forums and posts "What is all this vintage stuff doing here?" there are many, many others who are just thinking it.

The Funny One said...

the disgruntled one has a good point, and Etsy does not officially promote itself as a site for vintage or supplies, probably because they still haven't made up their minds about them --- and this is evident all over the site.

Like they haven't made up their minds about a lot of important ecommerce necessities, but what the heck, they're only 3 years old, as Rokali likes to point out ad nauseum.

While they putter around and make no decisions at all, they've managed to grow to an unmanageable size without the technical tools to manage it. Instead, they throw employed bodies at it, and the mess continues.

Which brings up the other Etsy problem - with all that manual labor sticking little fingers in lots of dams, sellers' real needs have gone into the crapper.

Lack of advertising is a huge missed opportunity for Etsy, but so is their inability to throw the right bodies at the right problems.

Ladies Auxilliary said...

"One of them once said, (I think it was Anda) that they spend all day sending links to cool Etsy items to eachother."

Cool Etsy items made by people that they seem to spend the rest of their time mocking and delivering crappy customer service two.

Two plus two Etsy...come on, you can add it up...I mean if we make all this cool stuff we can't be all bad right?

lucy said...

Honestly, if I saw a cute commercial like that I would check the website out.
I'm sure many others would too.

So what's the deal? Why won't they cut it down by a minute and pay for some airtime? I would bring in 982504928304982x more buyers than relying on the sellers ever could.

Eh-Hole said...

It's wishful thinking. That's all.

Heather said...

Rocket said...

I have a theory on why Etsy chooses venues like Bust, Mary Engelbreit, etc when it advertises (on the rare occasion that is does):

We as sellers say- WTF Etsy??? When you advertise in these venues, you are preaching to the choir. Why not advertise in some areas outside the indie/art/craft/handmade movement and bring in some people who have never heard of Etsy???

The answer is this: Etsy WANTS TO PREACH TO THE CHOIR because they want art/craft/handmade people who currently don’t have Etsy shops to open one and generate revenue for Etsy through sales, renews, Showcases, etc. When Etsy advertises in these venues, it generates customers FOR THEM. If Etsy was to advertise in non indie/art/handmade venues, it would generate customers for the sellers, but not customers for Etsy itself.

I know it is not a very deep revelation. It hit me one day and I couldn’t believe I was so naïve to think Etsy really gave a rat’s ass about advertising for the sellers.
___________________________

It's like when you suddenly realize there's no Santa. I remember when I had that realization too.

woolies said...

Etsy leaves everything up to us. They provide a venue - that is it. Nothing else. It is completely and totally up to each shop owner. Everything.
The thing that pisses me off - I do advertise both of my shops - is that I spend money to advertise, and draw a potential buyer into my shop. There's that big old BUY sign at the top of the page, one click and my potential buyer is lost into the void of Etsy.

PS I work for an advertising agency in my real life. I'm a broadcast strategist. I could tell them ways to spend a limited budget that would maximize their reach. I've offered that to them. They don't care. Oh, and Madison avenue is right around the corner. And YES all the stupid co-op ads that they offer are just to reach new potential shop owners.
No fucking thanks.

mememe said...

Ahhh.. the response you've gotten on, er, other blogs, *cough* to this post is hysterical.
They tell you that you don't really want advertising. Because the site is poorly designed and it couldn't handle the extra traffic. So, we should all make do with lesser sales and not complain because, uhm, we don't have livings to make that partially depend on etsy.
Yeah. Shhh.... don't tell anyone about etsy. Wouldn't want things to improve or anything.

sulking said...

Etsy could learn a lot about Marketing from Dawanda - promotional features on loads of hip blogs, advertising with google and in blog sidebars and now cute little ecards for users to send to friends - so much less spammy than that referral email Etsy introduced!
http://en.dawanda.com/ecard/

Grace said...

This is an adorable video. What is it doing on YouTube? I've never seen it before. There's nothing wrong with it that a bit of editing here and there can't fix. I could see 3 or 4 different ads coming from this one, to make a complete season of campains.

AAAAAAAAAAAAAGH!

The Funny One said...

Back in the day (rocking chair squeek) I was AOK with advertising Etsy along with my own store.

Now, you couldn't pay me to do that, and it's for 2 reasons - I won't do it for free, and I don't want any more competition.

The positive aspects of being on a community site, without real support for sellers, has kind of worn out its appeal.

formerly Twisted said...

Interestingly enough, while Etsy sits by doing nothing about advertising, all those other e comerce sites are grabbing every opportunity to do so and making a killing.

Dawanda is doing everything Etsy isn't or chooses not to and keeping their sellers quite happy!